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THE MARS VOLTA AND UNIVERSAL RECORDSa record industry mini FAQ


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#41 zyxon

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 03:31 AM

Kudos for the thread.

#42 Notanoob02

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 09:14 AM

wow i'm surprised at how little people actually know about the music business. I forget that information is not readily available. Wiki is cool, but i'll put it into terms you can all understand. Some of you know me and know that I work in a prominent role for one of the Four Majors. This post was spawned by all the hatred brewing for Universal Music Group that is unnecessary.

I can tell you that here's how The Mars Volta's deal works just by reading their label credits, or label copy as it's commonly referred to:

There are 2 parts to music. 1) the recorded music often referred to as the MASTER and 2) the written content, song writing, often referred to as the PUBLISHING.

So what the fuck does this mean? Well, if you look on the back of let's say, Amputechture, you'll notice the first line of the label copy:

(p) 2006 The Mars Volta.

What does that mean? Well, the (p) is the production line, which determines who owns the MASTER, or recorded content. In this case, THE MARS VOLTA own their own recorded music. The line, which happens to be on the same line as the (p) line, in this case, states that THE MARS VOLTA own their own publishing as well.

What does this mean?

It means that THE MARS VOLTA own both their masters and their publishing. Anyone who's seen the movie RAY knows that owning your own masters is HUGE.

So, how does this relate to Universal. Well, all independent labels (indies) need distribution in order to get their music in record stores. Most major chains only carry music that has mass appeal and major distribution. In order for indies to combat that, they make distribution deals with independent distributors like ADA or RED or Caroline so that when these companies approach WalMart and Best Buy, they can sell them a bulk of items instead of one random CD that will only sell 100 copies.

As you may know, At The Drive-In was signed to Fearless Records, but without ADA Distribution, it would have been very difficult to purchase their music.

So how does that relate to The Mars Volta's current deal? Well, I'm imagining that when they first formed, their label, Gold Standard Labs, was approached by someone in Business Development at Uni that said, "Hey, we want to have exclusive licensing rights to The Mars Volta. We've seen the success you had with ATD-i and we think TMV could be a huge success." Banking on that idea that TMV would blow up, they gave GSL what's called an UPSTREAM deal, which meant that Uni would use their independent distributor to sell the Tremulant EP and based on that initial success, they would determine whether or not to "upstream" TMV to Universal Records and give them more money, yadda yadda.

What, you think Rick Ruben just happened upon this little band? Fuck no. They (Uni) paid him a shit load of money to produce DitC.

BUT The Mars Volta definitely had a good upper hand in their negotiations because they managed to 1) own their own masters and 2) control their own publishing.

That's good.

The second line you'll read is: Licensed exclusively to Universal Records.

This means that Universal is paying The Mars Volta for the right to distribute their music. This is good for The Mars Volta because they get paid regardless. They own their music and as such, are consenting to give Uni exclusive rights to their music.

That's all.

So I saw another question about EMI and ASCAP and blah blah. EMI is one of the four major record labels, but another thing that they are is the largest Music Publisher (song writing) in the world. Look... the Mars Volta doesn't have time to sit around and answer phone calls all day. Instead, they'd rather pay a company like EMI to administer their publishing on their behalf. That doesn't mean that EMI owns them. It just means they provide a service to the band.

So what the fuck is Hija De Lola (ASCAP) and Amputekthure (ASCAP)?

Well, I'll let ASCAP tell you:

"ASCAP is a membership association of more than 300,000 U.S. composers, songwriters, lyricists, and music publishers of every kind of music. Through agreements with affiliated international societies, ASCAP also represents hundreds of thousands of music creators worldwide. ASCAP is the only U.S. performing rights organization created and controlled by composers, songwriters and music publishers, with a Board of Directors elected by and from the membership.

ASCAP protects the rights of its members by licensing and distributing royalties for the non-dramatic public performances of their copyrighted works. ASCAP's licensees encompass all who want to perform copyrighted music publicly. ASCAP makes giving and obtaining permission to perform music simple for both creators and users of music."

So this means that The Mas Volta created their own publishing entity and they use ASCAP as their method of managing their song writing. Believe me, it's a busy job and sometimes, not even their lawyers have time to go through everything. Instead, ASCAP is used as a resource to clear certain types of uses and to pretty much administer day to day publishing issues.

Hopefully this clears everything up.

I know the label copy looks like a foreign language to some people, but I can assure you, everything is right there in plain sight for everyone to understand.

In closing, I wouldn't blame Universal for pushing back the release of their new album.

There are many things that are beyond control. Many factors involved. Making a blanket statement about hatred towards a company that provides careers and livelihoods for families across the world is unnecessary.

I'm sure they want to get this album out just as bad as you do.

But, The Mars Volta needs the help of a label like Universal. It's far more difficult to do it on your own.

Im pretty sure flea and frusciante had a roll in this.

#43 The Flatline

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 09:18 AM

thank you for posting this, pateince is a virtue and I'm still growing up....i want mah volta though

#44 hellecaster

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 09:44 AM

cool?

#45 del024

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 06:50 PM

...a company that provides careers and livelihoods for families across the world...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

i agree with everything else you said, but record labels are purebred evil and whereas i agree that it's stupid to straight out blame universal for an album being held back, i don't think it's fair to imply that the pricks @ universal give a fuck about their employees. record labels exist so people with no musical ability can make money off of people with talent by exploiting them and not paying them shit. i understand that you need a lot of people to get the music out there but there are far too many people @ record companies that literally do nothing but collect a paycheck and sign some papers every once in awhile. and from what i've seen recently, all of the attempts that the record companies have made to get the music "out there" have equaled massive fail.

i'm not tryna stir shit up or be inflamitory, but i just found it amusing that you put forth the idea that record labels have good intentions.

#46 Blaine

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 09:26 PM

thank god someone finally cleared this up and put us all on the same page. I highly recommend that this be pinned here, and not moved to the faq forum (cause honestly, who the fuck reads that?). Very very informative overall.

#47 lucifer/zen

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 10:55 PM

Just out of curiosity, has anyone tried calling these #'s?



" Publishers/Administrators:
AMPUTEKHTURE
% EMI APRIL MUSIC INC
C/O EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING
810 SEVENTH AVE
NEW YORK , NY, 10019
Tel. (212) 830-2005

HIJA DE LOLA
% EMI APRIL MUSIC INC
C/O EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING
810 SEVENTH AVE
NEW YORK , NY, 10019
Tel. (212) 830-2005"

#48 Zopwx2

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 12:31 AM

Just out of curiosity, has anyone tried calling these #'s?



" Publishers/Administrators:
AMPUTEKHTURE
% EMI APRIL MUSIC INC
C/O EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING
810 SEVENTH AVE
NEW YORK , NY, 10019
Tel. (212) 830-2005

HIJA DE LOLA
% EMI APRIL MUSIC INC
C/O EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING
810 SEVENTH AVE
NEW YORK , NY, 10019
Tel. (212) 830-2005"


you'd just get some secretary at some office prbbly.

#49 Martijn

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 04:53 PM

yeah, or omar.

#50 i roll

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 05:01 PM

Just out of curiosity, has anyone tried calling these #'s?



" Publishers/Administrators:
AMPUTEKHTURE
% EMI APRIL MUSIC INC
C/O EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING
810 SEVENTH AVE
NEW YORK , NY, 10019
Tel. (212) 830-2005

HIJA DE LOLA
% EMI APRIL MUSIC INC
C/O EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING
810 SEVENTH AVE
NEW YORK , NY, 10019
Tel. (212) 830-2005"


you'd just get some secretary at some office prbbly.




....you realize those numbers ARE THE SAME....right....?




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